Nov. 30, 2006
Senior offensive tackle Arron Sears and junior wide receiver Robert Meachem became the 69th and 70th Volunteers to earn All-America honors Thursday when they were named to 2006 All-America squads by the American Football Coaches Association and Rivals.com, respectively.
Sears was picked by the AFCA after finishing the year with 71 knockdown blocks and capping a streak of 31 consecutive starts. A Jacobs Award candidate for the Southeastern Conference's top blocker, Sears has missed just one start since his freshman campaign and has starting at every position on the line except center. The Russellville, Ala., native anchors an offensive line that has kept UT quarterbacks clean and allowed Tennessee to become second-most prolific passing team in the SEC.
Sears also was one of four Vols selected to three All-America teams by Rivals.com. Junior wide receiver Robert Meachem received first-team notice, while junior safety Jonathan Hefney and sophomore linebacker Jerod Mayo were second-team picks and Sears was a third-team selection.
Meachem set a Tennessee season record with 1,265 receiving yards on 67 catches thus far and just became the sixth Vols receiver to top the 2,000-yard career barrier. He hauled in 11 touchdown passes this year and topped 100 yards receiving in a game six times (seven career). A native of Tulsa, Okla., Meachem leads the SEC and is third nationally with a 105.4-yard per game receiving average.
Hefney has five interceptions in his last nine games to improve to third in the SEC and 19th nationally, and has nine interceptions for his career. His recent streak of interceptions in three straight games (Marshall, Memphis and Georgia) was a first for the Vols since 2002. Tennessee's leading returning tackler from 2005 has taken over the team lead this year as well with 93 total hits, good enough sixth in the league. In addition, Hefney stands fourth in the SEC in punt returns with a 12.8-yard average.
Mayo was leading the Vols in tackles until a kneecap injury early in the Vanderbilt game sidelined him. In addition to 82 total stops, the Hampton, Va., defender has 12.5 tackles for loss and five sacks -- both team highs. He compiled double-digit tackle games this year against Air Force, Florida, Marshall, Alabama and LSU and was named Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against California.
WILHOIT SELECTED TO ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA SECOND TEAM
Tennessee senior placekicker James Wilhoit was named Thursday to the 2006 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America second team for football. The group is selected by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Wilhoit is a graduate student at UT, having completed his communications degree last December with a 3.60 grade-point average. The Draddy Award semifinalist and three-time Academic All-Southeastern Conference pick has a 3.79 graduate school GPA in sports psychology.
Also a Lou Groza Award semifinalist for his on-field efforts, Wilhoit is the SEC's active scoring leader with 321 career points entering bowl season. His will finish his career second on UT's all-time scoring list and is five points from tying for sixth on the SEC career chart. Wilhoit is the league's kick-scoring leader this year with 92 points, having connected on 17-of-21 field goals and 41 extra-points.
The Hendersonville native previously was chosen to the Academic All-District 4 first team, comprised of honorees from Division I-A and I-AA teams in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan.
To be eligible, student-athletes must be varsity starters or key reserves, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his current institution and be nominated by his sports information director. Since the program's inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 14,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA covering all NCAA championship sports.
VOLS NAME KLENCK TEAM PHYSICIAN
Tennessee head athletic trainer Jason McVeigh announced Tuesday that Dr. Chris Klenck, M.D., has accepted the post of team physician on the UT Sports Medicine staff.
Klenck, 35, comes to the Vols following a primary care sports medicine fellowship at Indiana University Medical Center. He served the Indianapolis hospital since June 2001 in the positions of pediatrics intern, pediatrics resident and pediatrics chief resident.
"We all are very excited about having Dr. Klenck on board," McVeigh said. "He comes very highly recommended and we are looking forward to working alongside him as we move toward our goal of providing world-class care to all of our athletes."
In addition to his work at IU Med Center, Klenck was the assistant team physician for the Indianapolis Colts preseason training camps and worked the NFL Scouting Combines in Indianapolis. He has NCAA championships experience, was assistant team physician at Purdue University, his alma mater, and served as a team physician in the Indiana high school ranks.
"This really is a dream job for me," Klenck said. "If I had to sculpt a job from the ground up, this would be it. I'm very excited to have this chance to come to a major university like Tennessee.
"I couldn't be more thrilled to be involved with the medical staff they have here. I'm very impressed with the facilities and they have a lot of exciting things planned for the sports medicine department."
An Evansville, Ind., native, Klenck earned his doctor of pharmacy degree from Purdue before completing his doctor of medicine degree at Indiana University School of Medicine. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and American College of Sports Medicine.
Klenck is married to the former Laura Botto of Dayton, Ohio. They are the parents of three children: Jacob, 7; Ben, 5; and Ella, 3.